Responding to some news articles…
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I’ve read Jeff Bezo’s 10 leadership principles a number of times. Based on the recent news information about how they are dealing with an issue with a publisher I tried to map what Amazon was doing to that particular vendor to the leadership principles. Its ok to have principles, its great to share those principles with the world. But you cannot tell me your actions against the publisher fit in those principles. It is in the end embarrassing. To steal from Chris Carter of ESPN and directed to Mr. Bezos – C’om Man!

The next one is going to get me in trouble but I don’t care anymore. I have listened to Pope Francis calling for a redistribution of wealth. Just like the Amazon issue above I am not impressed. First off, just to be clear if the Catholic Church paid taxes today in just Spain, the government has estimated they would receive from 2 to 3 billion euros per year or more. That is just Spain. The Catholic Church is extremely wealthy. If you have a leadership principle and you express it publicly – then start with yourself. So, I agree with Pope Francis that the world should do more to share the wealth. Dear Pope Francis, start paying taxes or redistribute the wealth of the church. Put your money were your mouth was.

A company is Maine is building Hobbit structures. I can’t say how much that made me smile. Hobbit holes are not like Orc holes (slimy and gross) they are airy, open and well designed. The above ground structures are really cool – they have built a number of unique designs and well like I said it just made me happy that someone was doing that.

Tomorrow is a day to honor those who served and those who gave everything in that service. It is a day to remember the honor of those who lived for freedom around the world and gave their lives against tyranny and oppression. I would love to see the first two organizations I mentioned realize that and think about what they want to achieve in this world.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Some Disconnected thoughts and a rant…
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Yesterday evening we went on a walk – about 6:45 pm. We made it a mile and a half without significant issue until the sky opened up and the rain poured down on us. Raven was fine however (she doesn’t like thunder – it thundered once she looked to the boys – they talked to her and she was fine). We ended up getting wet. Another father and son adventure. I wish I had a camera to take a picture of the soaking wet creatures in our garage.

I moved from my previous career so that I wouldn’t have to travel as much and so that I could be home with my kids. I love my children and I am very proud of them. Each of them has the unique ability to get under my skin in less than 10 seconds and the unique ability to make me feel like I’ve done a reasonable job as a parent. The three are intelligent, happy and in the end (and probably most important) they are good people. I see a little of my mom in Jaki. They are both intelligent and independent but not the kind of independence that makes you think they aren’t present. I see some of my grandfather in Luke, and some of Barb. Luke is there with a hug when things aren’t right. I see a little of my dad in Nick. Watching, waiting and then a zinger from left field.

Some Disconnected thoughts

  • When I started out late I got there late (originally Milburn Weaver) so true. I wish DC drivers understood that
  • The shortest distance between any two points is the most likely to be congested (the capital beltway is a great example)
  • I’ve read a post on Facebook recently that as a Liberal we slammed Tim Tebow and have joyously celebrated Michal Sam. It scares me that people would post that.

I did not, nor did any of my friend slam Tim Tebow. I welcomed his honest efforts to become a professional football player. I found it refreshing to have a genuinely nice person playing quarterback and trying his best. He has a valuable gift if football doesn’t work out – he is a nice person. I celebrated his triumphs and felt bad for him with his fall. However, there is no comparison to what Michael Sam and others have experienced. While certainly loud displays of religion make Americans in general nervous (we do still have some significant amount of Puritans in us remember) we don’t discriminate against religious displays. Standing aside and allowing someone to in effect conduct their display and then move on is the American way.

Michael Sam is on the other hand is a member of the LGBT community. That community has been OPRESSED in this country. While I understand that people get the oppression that group has suffered (as many groups in this country have suffered) it does not compare with the Tebow situation. I hope someone in his camp will come out and say the same thing (Tebow’s). That it’s a different story and a different problem. One is of a professional football player who was given millions of dollars and a free ride to a major college because of his talent. He has built himself into a fine human being. The other is the story of a young man who was oppressed and still is a good person. Its not the same thing.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

To Teach, to Education, to inform…
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My favorite star gazing iPad application (Sky Safari) just got upgraded. It’s a great tool and if I were still teaching the ability to connect the iPad to a projector and share the information would be critical. It does bother me that as a technologist there are so many things that would benefit schools. I wrote about (and there is a company doing this now) in my book the Syncverse the concept of master teachers recording their lessons and sharing them via the Internet. Imagine for a moment the ability of a school system to use the Internet as a expansive teaching tool. Have a teacher in one school who is exceptional at science with young children? Well then let’s create a school system wide science program. Want to teach variables in weather? Simply setup a series of NetATMO devices in the schools and figure out a way to get them to allow you to create a single account managing a large number of sites. Reality check – you can show the variability in weather and teach children the math of prediction and the reality of science and measurement.

Teaching is about opening doors. Its about expanding beyond what is to what is possible. In my opinion the best way to do that is via the use of science mixed with technology. Want to know why Geometry and Algebra are critical skills? You need them to build the next rocket ship for Mars or to build a device that saves people’s lives.

That intersection of education, science and technology is one that has been lacking often for many years. Why? Lack of funding. Its done, I did it and I know a lot of teachers who continue to do that blending (not just science and technology but also Art – exposing a generation of the beauty of Rembrandt and the glory of Mozart). From the Dead Teachers Society forum I talked to teachers all over the world who were fighting the good fight, using their own money to do the right things for kids.

I reach a great quote on LinkedIn recently a CFO asks a CIO about training.

“What is we pay for all this expensive training and they leave?” The CFO asks.

“What if we don’t and they stay?” Asks the CIO.

What if we don’t open the door for millions of children in the world? What happens when we are unable to drive home the value of thinking? (the saddest part about this rant is that I first posted this in 1988 on the newly created DTS-L forum on the Internet. Why is that sad? Because it is now 25 years later and for the most part the rant is still true.)


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow

The constant learner
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Being a teacher is a tough job. You spend day after day helping kids and often you fail as often as you succeed. When you send a child home and they don’t eat until they come back to school the next morning its hard for them to focus on reading and maintaining the skills they need to be successful in a classroom – it isn’t survival to succeed in a classroom.

At the time I was a teacher I believe in the art of the possible. (I stole that description from a very smart person I work with now). Possible meant that you could do anything. I used to use model rockets with 2nd grade students as a way to teach two subjects, advanced math and science. I had the kids spend time figuring out where they thought the rocket would land based on the weather conditions the day of the launch.

I had a mother tell my principal I ran a sexist classroom because I took girls outside with the boys to launch the rockets (and it was cold). My principal just smiled and said he would talk to me. He just told me to be fair and do indoor activities as well. Which we did, I never wanted any child in my classroom to be at a disadvantage.

Had I in my hands what I have now – I suspect I would still be teaching.

There are rocket simulation packages that allow you to add not only the math – but planning against the burn rate of a model rocket the lift, potential maximum height and potential range. You can do the math on the board, and then redo in the program to not only validate but to begin the broader concept of testing assumptions. For example, one year we launched a model rocket with a nose cone that had a hinged door. We put things of various weight in the nose cone (never anything that was alive – ever. Although both the boys and girls wanted to send various living things up). With the new programs you can actually begin to do even more. We never got the camera rocket – it was more than the measly 100 dollar budget I had could afford. Plus it only took 10 pictures and it was expensive to develop the pictures. Now with digital camera’s you can take video of your rocket’s trip.

From computers to improved model rockets teaching science to 2nd graders would be a blast now. What would I stock that classroom with?

  • Cubicle walls inside the room so that there could be a loud side and a quiet side of the room.
  • Comfy pillows and Kindle Fires for the kids to read on.
  • A Wikipedia station in the corner.
  • A reward station that had lots of free books for the kids to take home.
  • A science station featuring the Vernier Labquest products (simply the most amazing devices ever!
  • A weather station for the kids to see what the current conditions outside were.

The only cost for this classroom? Four PC’s, four Labquest’s and four Kindle Fire’s. Simply put an inexpensive room. Heck you could even go so far as to say a Kindle for each kid with their text books on it. Cheaper for electronic text books anyway.

Teaching and learning should become a state of innovation. The teacher and the students striving to learn more about the world around them. To create a concept I call “the constant learner.”


Come on Guys–let’s talk about education!
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I work around people for whom the concept of service is simply the day they work. They, the people I am fortunate to work around, focus on doing the right things and moving this country forward. From Military to Civilian agencies they are focused on building and doing the right things for this country. Please accept my humble admiration and a huge thank you for your service.

Reflection for Today

The problem with the road less traveled is that it isn’t paved.


Any four left turns going equa-distance between the turns leaves you back where you started. It seems to me listening to the debates that both sides are basically making four equa-distance left turns. I don’t think either side has a particularly innovate idea that will help the people listed above.

The movie Roller Ball is a look a future controlled by corporations. You simply have to look around this country to realize that corporations don’t care as much about people as they probably should.

The other side isn’t the answer either.

The reality of of country today? We need to educate the people. Why did America win the space race? We were a distant 2nd in 1960. Yet by 1970 we were first, and now we are 2nd again. Why is that? Why?

Many years ago I wrote a series of essays about the concept of teaching and training. I’ve found over the years in reviewing how things are managed in this world that we have a small series of problems. In my book the Syncverse I talk through a model where we could greatly impact education at a very functional level without increasing the cost of that education. I called the concept the Eduverse.

Education is what won the space race. We started helping the best and brightest minds of our country. We didn’t cut taxes or increase the deficit. In fact the president at that time is one of only two in the past 60 years to balance the federal budget. Its not about the budget its about having a national agenda focused on education.

Not a equal shot for all – the same shot for all.


Should we modify the right to bear arms?
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I In the past few days I’ve grown concerned. I am not anti-gun. I’ve fired guns over the years and enjoy shooting at targets. But suddenly I find myself in a position where the reality of the world makes me wonder if the second amendment shouldn’t be modified a little. Yes people have the right to bear arms.

Understanding that gun rights is something that will get you into trouble in this country (if you oppose free rights towards guns) I still wonder if in fact states shouldn’t simply implement the why question. For example why are you getting a gun? Why are you storing guns in your house? What are you planning on doing with the guns you have?

Two horrible events in less than a month make me wonder if we should consider change.

I realize that guns aren’t the problem, it is and always will be people that are the problem. But still…

The framers of the constitution, at a time when our country was young and still very militant, supported the concept of people owning guns. But the historical construct under which they operated is very different than the here and now. You can’t buy an automatic musket. You have to fire it, load it and then first it again. You didn’t have 300 round magazines, rapid fire and rapid reloading weapons in 1776. Personally I wonder if it isn’t time to strongly consider gun reform, at least make it harder to buy a gun. Its right to have a gun but it’s a privilege to buy one.


Blurring the lines…

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For the past 6 years I have been a regular walker or runner. I’ve covered more than 4000 miles in that time. In the past years I’ve been tracking every step, taking 4.8 million steps in that year.

  • I’ve changed jobs.
  • I’ve continued to blog.
  • I’ve published books.

All of these things are important to me as a person. For the past week or so I’ve been blurring my blog lines a little, writing a couple of technical blogs on my personal window to the universe (this blog) and some personal thinking on my professional blog (docandersen blog above). Its not that I am blurring the lines on purpose. Writing two blogs 90% of the time results frequently in cross pollination. Instead its more of a gradual realization that technology isn’t as good an answer as I thought it was.

The things that have driven me and continue to drive me are changing. I wonder now if what is happening around me is a direction I can participate in and go forward with. Everyone seems so concerned with short term fixes for everything. People are slamming our president for the ObamaCare and the job situation. Never minding that the previous president dug a deep hole for our economy and there really isn’t an effective way out of it unless we return to Clintonomics. Yes the economics of a budgetary surplus. William Jefferson Clinton as the last president to balance the American budget and produce a surplus that was ultimately the war mongers war chest. The surplus was spent and then the economy burped and we had no way to fix it quickly.

So we blame president Obama for trying to fix the things that were the result of poor planning for many years. Yes we need to work towards balancing the budget. Its time to raise taxes and do the right things. Its time to make sure everyone has healthcare in this country. It is time to remember what made America great in the first place. Let’s take care of those who cannot take care of or protect themselves.